New Mexico

Eyewitness Identification Reform

In 2019, New Mexico passed a law that requires all agencies that conduct eyewitness identification procedures to adopt written policies for eyewitness identification procedures by January 1, 2020, and to provide their written policies to the Secretary of Public Safety no later than February 1, 2020. Law enforcement agencies must adopt policies that include: blind administration, proper instructions; proper fillers, and confidence statements. The law provides that the Secretary of Public Safety shall create and conduct training programs for law enforcement officers on eyewitness identification procedures. Additionally, law enforcement agencies will be required to biennially review their eyewitness identification policies to incorporate new scientifically-supported protocols. Effective: January 2020.

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Recording of Interrogations

New Mexico statute requires that all police departments in the state electronically record custodial interrogations. Effective: 2006.

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Post Conviction DNA Testing

Any convicted felon who claims that DNA evidence will establish his/her innocence may petition the district court where they were convicted court of conviction for post-conviction DNA testing. Effective: 2003; Amended most recently: 2005.

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Evidence Preservation

State statute requires all DNA evidence secured in relation to an investigation or prosecution of a felony be automatically preserved for the period the defendant remains incarcerated or under supervision in connection with the case. Effective: 2003; Amended most recently: 2005.

New Mexico's statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.

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Exoneree Compensation

New Mexico has no compensation law.

Qualified Immunity

The New Mexico Civil Rights Act allows an individual to bring a civil suit against a public body, including law enforcement, for constitutional rights violations. An individual may recover actual damages, equitable relief, and/or injunctive relief, up to $2 million. The Act specifically prohibits the defense of qualified immunity, and defendants sued in their personal capacity must be indemnified by the public body that employs them. There is a statute of limitations of three years for when a claim can be brought if the alleged civil rights violation occurred after July 1, 2021, and for any claim against law enforcement notice of the claim must be provided within one year of the alleged civil rights violation’s occurrence. All judgments, settlements, and complaints arising out of the Act are public record. Effective: July 2021.

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